Follow the fortunes of Muddyboots & Family on their East Yorkshire farm which has changed from dairy farm to luxury ice cream manufacture

Thursday, 27 December 2007

ovens, sprouts & cold turkey

Yippee, survived, Christmas has come [and gone]. Have fed the 5 thousand, or so it would seem. Sprouts, sprouts and yet more sprouts. What may l ask is so marvelous about them? The very thought of eating one of those small green mini-cabbage-wind-inducing-things makes me feel positively nauseous. I ought to have a medal for preparing that vegetable!

This year, we have replaced the old kitchen with a new, second hand, ebay version which came complete with ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES. l am now the proud owner of an electric oven. WOW. You see, being a proper farmer's wife l have cooked only using an aga. For non-aga aficionados, this means that your turkey needs to be cooked slowly, very slowly in fact, in the bottom oven over night, leaving you room to burn the roast veggies in the top oven, whilst trying not to loose to much heat from the hot plates, phew... well this year, l cooked the turkey in the... electric oven. Do you know it tasted ok, moist, juicy & not falling off the bones aga style?

The tiles surrounding the aga have been designed & hand painted by a very talented fellow blogger residing in France, and her web site can be visited by a mere click just here!

The entertaining bit is still going on, tonight SIL & husband are here for a spot of tea, beef in ginger wine with clementines being top of the menu this evening! Christmas presents for them this year was a doddle, so to speak. Donations to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Duly done!

So, what with mild weather, an unhealthy amount of food, which l am pleased to say has been sourced locally where possible, [smug grin], it has been a fairly quite Christmas; the dogs have enjoyed tasty gravy on their food, Lucy-Piglet has been taking all her medicine without too much fuss, plus the added bonus / bribe of 6 small feeds a day, actually l have turned this in to 3 feeds a day but don't tell the vets! Oh, and did l mention that the oesophagus stretching appears to have more or less cleared / improved her eating ability?

**Happy Christmas / Birthday [Boxing Day] / New Year to TF [ a Canadian] & KS [a local] in Australia! Enjoy the surf dude!**

Wednesday, 12 December 2007


l know that it is the month of December but l hadn't quite realized that Christmas was only 2 weeks away. Help, l am not organized. No cards written, no turkey ordered, no christmas puddings made.

The TV advertising is set to feeding frenzy point, trying to get the last ounce of 'suckerabilty' out of us,. You must but this toy or that, then these mince pies are so much better than those, plus have you got all your electrical things ordered? who in their right minds wants a blurdey dishwasher or washing machine for Christmas?

Oh well never mind, it will soon be Easter!

At least the temperature has dropped. Last night saw our first, white frost of the winter. Ice everywhere. It is at this time of year that wellingtons are not the ideal choice of foot wear unless you have at least 3 pairs of socks on! Gordon has discovered that ice & him just don't get on. You see, in the morning he LEAPS out, spinning about, bending this way and that, but on ice, well, he just ends up sliding across the farm drive, arms & legs akimbo! Poor dog. He thinks he is the ONLY dog. That he can have choice morsels and total attention. Wrong. Lucy-Piglet with any luck should be returning home on Saturday after her awfully big adventure.

Poor Gordon!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

spring tides and missing cliffs

The past few weeks have seen mammoth changes to the beach at Withow Gap. Normally at this time of year, sand on the upper beach is scrapped back revealing the smooth, slippery grey clay, however, this year we seem to have a reverse of all things normal. And so it is that now, in December, the sand has never been so high. Ten feet of vertical, peaty cliff have been buried under tons of fine sand. Now, today, instead of a scramble down into Withow Gap, clutching wildly for anything to stop you ending up slipping ignominiously in the peaty morass & looking to all intents and purposes as though you have been mud wrestling, it is a case of a gentle, elegant hop, down on to the soft sand, maintaining ones decorum! l feel quite sorry for the summer visitors, clad in light summer shoes totally unsuitable for mud paddling, blame the ancient lake god's!

The Sand Dumping might be good news for walkers but it does bring other problems, the drain is now blocked and water is back tracking up the dyke, causing the water table to rise in the low part of the field, turning it once more into the kettlehole lake of days gone past. Great for wading birds. Flocks of redshanks, lapwing & greenshanks plus loads of small waders prodding the peaty soil for a meal! So far that makes 2 interesting results of the high sandy bit, now for the down side.... each spring tide has seen the sea come up over the 'cliff' top strewing flotsam & jetsam ever where and of course hastening coastal erosion.

Finally, the dog. Lucy-Piglet. We have a positive diagnosis. It is a post esophageal stricture. L-P is currently residing at the Animal Health Trust clinic near Newmarket under going treatment and with any luck she will be back here in a week. Gordon is bereft

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Dogs and fancy dress

So today's Thursday. A dry but chilly one in fact; where do the days keep flying off to? Short days, long dark nights. Dank, dark & damp. Amazingly, we have had no rain for the past couple of days. It had been raining solidly since the weekend, water once more falling to the lowest point of resistance & accumulating in the boggy bottoms & field depressions. Not exactly the floods of june, more our typical winter weather pattern.

So on to the updates on the dog.

Well, she is still with us and has returned to her usual bouncy self, putting weight back on after her second close shave with the grim reaper. She is, l must hasten to add, not 100% fighting fit. The problem when she eats is still with us. Well l think in my last blog l briefly ran through the symptoms? The initial diagnosis based on these symptoms was a post operative esophageal stricture,however during the routine vet visit to the farm yesterday, & by observing L-P actually eating, [bar a definite diagnosis at a serious vet center], the problem could be damage to nerves that induce swallowing? On a more positive note, there is no urgency in getting a definite diagnosis. Will keep the blog updated as to any updates in this department & can report that at this moment the mutt in question is sitting at my feet burping! Delightful!

So we turn to things more frivolous. Relief you think, there is only so much of 'crook' dog that one can take!

Last friday saw the BBC Children in Need Appeal, which involves lots of people doing strange & wonderful things in order to raise money for the charity. So it was that this year we too have joined in the fun, serving our customers in a wacky selection of fancy dress! We had Noggin the Nog [or could it have been Brünnhilde] & superman, hippies & Ali G, Lady Pirates & Micky Mouse. All in all we raised a respectable sum of approximately £100. Now next year we will do a sponsored ice cream eating session!

Monday, 12 November 2007


l had no idea it was so long ago that l wrote my last blog. It isn't that l have been avoiding the blank screen, but stuff just seems to come at you from all angles...........

The dog, L=P is still not back to normal. She is having a major problem eating in bites. Food has to be pureed or else she behaves like a cat with a large fur ball rammed down her throat. the vets have taken x-rays, but have no idea the cause of her frothy vomiting each & every time she eats in a normal fashion. I always thought that horses were trouble, now it looks like dear old L-P is the cause of yet more wrinkles. hey ho!

So here we are November, Remembrance Sunday is out of the way so we seem to be in the count down to christmas, the mad rush to buy all things twinkly & tacky. The shops are playing, to gets us in the mood, carols & Christmas 'icky' pop. Out with the earplugs.

The shop is now quieter. We are closed Mondays & Tuesday from now on until easter, so that gives me a few days of normality. Lunch at lunch time for example, plus catching up with friends who feel that they have been deserted over the summer months. It's really hard to do nothing or very little after months of non-stop adrenaline overloads!

Don't get me wrong, there is still plenty to do. Meeting buyers, planning for next year, removing dust from the skirting. It's just so nice to be able to do what l want, within reason, without watching the clock or having to be smiley at all times.

'So here it is Merry Christmas everybody's having fun...................'

Monday, 29 October 2007

this was the week that was.......

Oh hell, thank the gods that that one is OVER. FINI..... Dog dog dog... In my diminished world of sick dog, even the school half term dimmed by comparison to thrusting tablets down doggy throats & rushing sick doggy into vets! I am mentally devoid of coherent speech & recognized thought patterns. Give Me Strength........

Well, Lucy-Piglet has made a Full Recovery after what you just might call a 'close shave', well a very close one in fact! The stitches have come out this morning, so all l can say is thanks to the team at Garth Vets in Beeford and rabbits beware - she's back - be afraid, be very afraid!

Other things did happen last week, for example we were busy over half term week. Children seem to crawl out of the woodwork & take over the place, obviously enjoying the late summer weather [joke], scampering around having great fun! Just discovered today that the west yorkshire schools are on half term this week, 'nought like bein' prepared like'.

Other fun things, included our summer chap from Nova Scotia, leaving, returning home before a round the world trip which will no doubt include him indulging in any number of extreme sports. This guy does in real life what all the gameboy / xbox /nintendo surfing - snowboarding - skateboarding games allow the couch potato to do in the comfort of their living rooms! Awesome dude! Well, to celebrate his return or weep at his leaving, we held a party. A fancy dress party in fact. Boy were there some good costumes! There were zombies, fairies, cavemen, pirates plus the Vicar of Dibley thrown in for good measure!

Hopefully now, things WILL return to normal? Autumn mists, falling leaving and parties. I seem to be doing quite well on the party front at the moment. Three in a week no less. Two fancy dress & one black tie. Saturday night's effort involved loads of white make-up, absinthe, zombie's drool & something else made from red bull & black vodka? Hmm can't remember exactly.... not bad really it was quite an experience drinking absinthe in the company of one's son!! Hazza's excuse was The Green Fairy, so what was mine?

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

sick dog

No blog for over a week, what's up then? Lucy-Piglet. Last Thursday she was off. Dull, listless depressed AND off her food. Sure sign that all is not well in Lucy-Piglet world. The vet felt sure that she was suffering from the non-puppyitis, having been on heat / season the previous week. So off we toddle home with what we thought was the non-pregnant dog fatigue syndrome.

Friday, she was ill, dull, listless, temperature of 104'. Back to the vets. OK, what do non-spayed bitches suffer from? Pyometra. Why have we not had her spayed? well she was booked in, was placed under anesthesia and reacted very badly indeed. This could have been that at 6 months old she broke her pelvis in 6 places which required pining? Well, to cut to the sharp end of the story, L-P had her hysterectomy there and then after first checking with the animal hospital in Doncaster who had done the Big Opp as to which anesthetic had been used there.

Last week's surgery went as well as can be expected, she reacted badly once again to the analgesic, but, the pyometra wasn't ruptured but, & here is the critical bit, there was fluid in her abdomen. It is this that has caused her return to the vets today with a raised temperature & nausea.

This evening, her temperature is back down, her tail is wagging and she has eaten a little, but, she is still feeling sick, apparently lots of lick lipping. She is on intravenous fluids & antibiotics to treat the pyometa & possible bacterial peritonitis.

Tomorrow, well that is another day isn't it? If she shows no sign of improvement, ie. she is worse then she will need to be transfered to an intensive animal hospital where she can be nursed round the clock.

I don't know how sick she really is. It's a case of wait and see isn't it? Hopefully she will respond to treatment and another positive is that she is a young dog, 4 years old. If not, well, lets look at that when it happens shall we...........

Have posted today's update in the comments section!

Monday, 15 October 2007

sneeezes & snow

Ok. l am now ready for winter. My wood pile is stacked up & the central heating is just waiting to be turned up. Come on winter, l am ready for you! Slight problem though. The temperature here is 15'C. It feels mild & muggy. Germs abound. l am busy dying from my first cold of the season. My intake of single malt to which is added copious amount of lemon, honey & a wee bit of hot water has done nothing as yet to alleviate the symptoms. So here l sit with a nose to equal or surpass Rudolph's!

On a more serious note, this mild air is a slug's idea of heaven. What more could you ask for than warm, damp air & fields of juicy rape seedings just sitting there waiting to be eaten with gusto! Hence me saying come on winter it's not that l am a kill joy wanting the mild autumn to end, but it's just that all these bugs & slugs need a knock on the head, so to speak.

Winter can't be far off though, l note that Christmas adverts are appearing on the TV, what ever happened to waiting till after Bonfire Night before deluging the box with adverts for the latest must have gift / drink / supermarket food eh? And another thing, what happened to the good old All Hallows Eve & bobbing apples, why is it now trick or treating & everyone dress up in pumpkin suits?

Oh my god, l believe l am turning into a 'grumpy Old Woman', surely not........... l'm not old enough yet?

Monday, 8 October 2007

of rabbits & the north west passage

It's October & it's mild. The last week has seen nothing but sunshine & blue skies, ok so it is a tadge over cast now, but cold it ain't. What is going on with the weather? Who's doing the messing about then? On this morning's Today program on radio 4, a chap was saying that in the arctic, the North West Passage had been clear of ice for the longest time in recorded history. Perhaps the fate of Franklin will be exposed, so to speak.

The un-typical weather has meant that during the weekends, people are out and about. The car park here was full for most of Sunday as people enjoyed that walk down to the sea. How many got down onto the beach l'm not sure as the sea has been over the cliff top once again at Withow Gap, scouring out all the pebbles from the dyke & bringing down a large chunk of peaty cliff-face.

We are starting to get large flocks of birds coming in now for the winter, yesterday a large skein of barnacle geese came swooping in over the hedge swearing violently at each other, or so it seem, as they jostled for final landing checks. last week, flows of human twitchers were out. A rare bird had been sighted so car loads of Bill Odies were to be seen scurrying about in search of this rare visitor!

Well, there is one animal that doesn't seem to have suffered at all this summer. The rabbit, or shall we say Oryctolagus cuniculus. We have been inundated by the pesky varmites. Hundred of those dear little fluffy bunnies EVERYWHERE.

Normally, we loose a good few through myxomatosis, but this year nothing bar the odd one. Even Gordon & Lucy-Piglet's efforts seem to be little more than a scraping across the surface. The amount of damage that they do is amazing. All our trees have the longest available plastic tubes around, even the hedge plants, in order to save them from those sharp teeth. To a rabbit nothing more delicious than a lovely, juicy, nibbleable sapling! We must have a breed of Super Rabbits, oh where are you the Anti Pesto Team?

Monday, 1 October 2007

apples and birthday parties

Time is a passing, me thinks, the friends that l have kept in regular contact with since leaving school are, well getting to the 1/2 way stage in life... well how else can l put it without being lynched on my next visit to Cheltenham? The only plus point is that l am not there yet!

So this friday, after a very quick sort out, we hit the wonderful UK motorway systems and headed south. M62, M18, M1, M42, M5. Bingo, 31/2 hours later, with no significant slows or stops we hit Gloucestershire. My god, were there some horrendous tail backs on the M1 on friday afternoon, north bound from Sheffield right down to east midlands. l think l can safely say that we were heading in the right direction for once! The 'old banger', which is hubby's pride & joy, positively purred down the motorway!

The weekend, spent in a small hamlet just to the north of Bishops Cleeve was a real hoot. saturday morning helping the 'birthday girl' with the preparations for the evening's party, then as the sun emerged for what might possiblely have been only the second time in September, headed via my old stomping ground, up to Much Marcle in order to stock up on perry, from Westons cider mill. We did, l must confess do a wee bit of sampling, which included a rather girlee mix of cider & raspberry!

One of the things that really hits you is how the area has changed. In and around Cheltenham, so much building, identikit housing estates, grid lock, traffic - traffic - traffic. However, once you clear the river Severn at Haw Bridge the pace of life seems to draw breath, the road becomes notably quieter, fields emerge with livestock & grassland as opposed to the good old pony paddock. Really, l could see little change over the years. The house with the crenelated wall just before the t junction to Corse was still there. That was meant to have been removed due to contravening the planning regs over 30 years ago!

The return drive back through the rolling green countryside dotted with the odd cultivated field exposing the red soils, took us to Castle Fruit Farm where we stocked up on apples, pears & freshly pressed juice. Mmm yummy.

So how did that party go? Well, the wind dropped & the temperature rose. The guests arrived, as did the hog roast, and we all had fun!! Wine, real ale, food added to which was an hilarious song charting my friend's life to date to the tune of 'wild rover'. Next morning? Owwwuurrgggh!! Where was the paracetamol.

For classic car fans, the motor is..... a jag XJS 4lt 1994.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

cold ears

This evening's dog walk has left me with cold, tingling ears, a sure sign that autumn is here. It is one of the down sides to living so close to the sea. The sharp, salt laden wind was one of the first things that l noticed on moving north from Gloucestershire, apart from the strange language which l really struggled to understand. The banks of the River Severn were often breached during the winter months & the villages & hamlets around Gadbury, Pendock & Eldersfield often took on a supernatural appearence, but cold wind whistling around the ears? Not on your life!

So here we are then autumn. Summer neatly tucked away until next year, and boy what a summer it was, if you could call it that? It would be fairly accurate to say that the weather has impacted on the business this year, only the brave ventured out during the months of May through to July. Oh to have had shares in hunter wellingtons this summer! Well, at least we weren't flooded out & summer of a sort eventually arrived in August!

So what next? Foot and Mouth is still bubbling away down south & now we have blue tongue; the best bit of news was that of price fixing by the major multiples, we as farmers, & having been involved in price negotiations with dairy companies, have been always aware of the fact, though of course it must NEVER be mentioned in public!! I can even recall a board member of a Leeds based dairy company vehemently deny that this was ever the case, what did he call it? A cartel & this was illegal, he said.... need l say more?

So, l guess it's now time to turn on the central heating, chop the logs for the woodburner, set up the mouse traps to catch the little blighters as they move into their winter residence, and, perhaps, more importantly get out the woolly hat!

Thursday, 20 September 2007

post holiday blues

Why is it when you come back off holiday everything is, well, flat. OK, so the piles of dirty washing aren't exactly 'flat' but, your brain is kinda of, well, out of it.

Anyway, less of the maudlin, back from holiday mood & back to the prose, or whatever this selection of poor grammar & spelling is termed as. Really, l think l should have stayed put, hidden in the olive groves & refused point blank to return to the chilly, autumnal weather of the east Yorkshire coast. brrr.

Not even back a week & already starting to sneeze. Could it be all that re-circulated air pumped around the aircraft cabin? Airlines, especially the charter ones have a lot to answer for. Take the food. Well, l think they call it 'food'. To me, being served up a rubber, rectangle of burnt pasta is not something l would term along the lines of food. A frisby perhaps, but not food. Then there are those over priced small tins of pop.......... Next time, l will buy my £4.50 sandwich & £2.50 bottle of plain mineral water & eat something a bit more recognizable as food, if not great value for money.

Less of the moans & groans. OK. Great holiday. Did very little except read, sit in the sun, swim & of course eat loads of yummy nosh! N E Corfu is tourism on a low key. Do they call it Kensington on Sea? Small coves, olive strewn hilly bits then mountains, dotted with villages, hamlets & villas. What l did notice this year was how very dry the undergrowth is. Normally at this time of year, the purple flowers of the wild cyclamen are carpeting the olive groves. This year, nothing but dead grass. No rain you see, well, ok, we had some rain, but there has been no proper rain for months so together with the heat wave, that has hit the eastern Med, everything is very dry indeed.

Monday, 17 September 2007

the traveller returns

It is amazing just how quickly a week can fly past. Time seemed to positively race past at a break neck speed. One minute your sitting on the suitcase trying to close the damm thing then the next you're sat up in the restaurant at corfu airport waiting to see if your departure flight is on time. Oh to be able to hit the rewind switch!

Corfu. Ah Corfu. Just wonderful. The place is truly magical. The scenery is outstanding, the locals are well, local, & the food...... fresh fish & seafood......freshly baked bread cooked in the local bakery.............. sublime as well as calorific.

This year we stayed lower down the slopes of the mountain, closer to the sea, within walking distance in fact. A gentle stroll down through the olive groves, peppered with the odd cypress tree, to the pebbly beaches of Agni and Yaliskari.

Warm, crystal clear waters temptingly inviting, snorkels & flippers at the ready, fish in abundance. The return trek, and at the start of the week it was a definite trek, back up the step pathway, up, up, up to the village and the dark red villa, with views across the countryside & narrow straights towards the barren slopes of Albania.

So now l'm back. The memories are the photos on the computer set to slide show. The washing has been done & summer clothes put away until next year. The accounts have been caught up with. The sun tan is, well, hmm, not completely faded. Corfu again next year then?

Thursday, 6 September 2007

escape .......

One of the things that really keeps you going during the busiest moments is the thought of the holiday booked for early September. After a busy summer is not the right time to trawl through the myriad of web sites offering tempting last minute breaks to here or there, so, for the past few years we have behaved in a sensible manner & booked the week's break well in advance. So tomorrow, the time has finally arrived. We are off. Returning to corfu once more.

I came to Corfu fairly late. I had fallen in love with the island after having read Gerrald Durrell's book, My Family and Other Animals whilst still at school. l have not been disappointed. To me, l can still catch a glimpse of the boy & his dog racing through the dark olives grows growing on the steep slopes that fall down into the azure blue of the crystal clear sea.

So, for the next 7 days, a whole week in fact, we will be deserting the Yorkshire coast & scanning, instead, the barren coastline of Albania from our terrace whilst gargling with ouzo & swatting wasps!

Tuesday, 4 September 2007 days

Summer is over. The schools have gone back today, all those badly parked cars jammed outside the village schools gates again. Peace returns at last. The peace it would seem is in the form of an Indian summer, blue skies, wispy, high cirrus cloud, swirling & swooping swifts, the new seasons babies practicing their acrobatics before their long journey south for the winter. Skeins of geese are busy circling stubble fields in search of spilled grain.

Here, the land has returned to the brown earth of the ploughed & rotavated fields, waiting for the break crop of oil seed rape to be sown. Areas of grassland flooded in the june floods have now been re-seeded & it will be interesting to see if these new lays flourish with the addition of the nutrients from the flood water.

The ice cream parlour, after a more than hectic august, is now settling down to a more leisurely pace. August was certainly manic & as a rough guide, has been our busiest ever. All our visitors have been in excellent form, not a cross word, grumble or complaint. It has almost been as though with the weather being so crap in June & July, then with August being of a marked improvement, nothing was going to get in the way of their days out, so bring out the ice cream!

The farm walk has been enjoyed by old a young. Withow gap has been dammed & bridged by young construction engineers whilst the more imaginative have been making pebble boats & castles. Talking about castles we had one little boy come in with a vivid scar across his forehead. His day was made when one of the lads commented that 'he was a real wizard'!

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

a few hours off

Several important things have happened in the past few days, bank holiday, animal movement restrictions lifted & the lads have returned from Leeds fest.

The holiday weekend was truly heaving. Everyone along this bit of coast has commented on the fact. People rushing to the seaside to take advantage of the sudden burst of summer. We were well and truly swamped by good humoured customers, l even manged to chat to some of them for longer than a minute, quite a feat l can tell you!

The lifting of the movement ban meant that we could at last releive home farm of the weaned baby heifers. 10 arrived to take up residence in their new quarters. The farm will be their home for the next 2 years, only leaving to calve down. Straw filled yards for the winter & pasture from spring until the first frosts of winter.

Then, finally the boys returned from the weekend rock concert held at Bramham Park near wetherby. That has meant that l have, at last, managed to have a few hours off & travel up to Scarborough Castle to deliver ice cream. Yes, how sad is that, time out & what do l do..... work!

The sea front was teaming with holiday makers, stuffing their faces with ices, kids riding the donkeys on the beach, children racing into the sea in their strange 'anti-sunburn suits', old folk staring down at the fishing boats in the harbour. Arh, the quintessential English seaside resort.

One thing l did do was take my camera & have manged at last to take a photo of Anne Bronte's grave [see right[. As you can see, the grave is maintained but at the bottom of the graveyard is a, wait for it, car park. Words fail me.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

bank holiday approaches

It's nearly the end of August. Where have the summer months gone, june & july. Have l blinked & missed them or has something more sinister been taking place?

I think l can safely say that this summer has been as total wash out, damp squib, non-starter. No warm sunshine, no blue skies & no hosepipe ban. Can this be England? Have we been sucked into a time vacum or vortex & returned to the good old damp summers of yesteryear? Has anyone seen the Doctor of late? Is he still in Cardiff? Ah well, no use in becoming a moan-a-holic, perhaps next year the weather will be better.........

Bank holidays drive me, as they say, nuts. Why does everything close down for 3 days? well not exactly everything. Why do people go do-lally buying food for the next Great Famine, piling shopping trolleys to overflowing with food that will, more than likely, end up in next week's rubbish collection? It is well & truly beyond me.

Look at the roads this evening, caravans. Caravans EVERYWHERE. All heading to the coast armed with their air conditioning, satellite TV, barbies, wind breaks.............. I will admit to having a 5 pitch CL site here, and well, we are full for this weekend Have been fully booked for months. The phone is still ringing, hopeful caravaner's looking for that all elusive pitch for the bank holiday.

So for the next few days we will be battening down the hatches & going into 'survival' mode, life rafts & may wests at the ready. Ice creams, cakes, coffees, food, cowpats, all will be made with a smile & taken to the customer's table with a flourish. No one will know that we may be tired, grumpy & our feet may be dropping off, we hide it well. Cheese........................

Friday, 17 August 2007

teenagers, pop concerts & being stretched

Gosh, it seems awhile since l last sat down and wrote about the daily happenings here on the coast. I must offer my profuse apologies as it would appear that time is slowly slipping away somewhere. Days seem to be merging into one. Groundhog Day? The tourist are out in force, grabbing every day of sunshine as if it was their last. Tractors are out, racing about harvesting winter wheat & ploughing stubble. Blackberries are ripening & the summer visiting birds are starting to gather on the wires or in huge flocks swooping into the fields.

Foot & mouth has now passed from headline news to some where deep inside the dailies. It may have slipped down the 'sensational' listing but we farmers are still having to live with the miles of rules & regulations churned out by defra. We are having a major problem in as much that we can't bring 2 week old calves through to this farm due to movement restrictions & space is now at a premium for these youngsters on home farm. One strange thing is that our human summer visitors don't seem to be aware that there has been a potential countryside catastrophe. Few have asked if a] we are still open & b] if the footpath is open. Some of the regular children, usually small girls, have noticed that the little heifers are not in the barn & can be heard asking parents 'where are they?', if l'm withing earshot l explain that they have been turned out in to a field away from direct contact with people, l also explain why. BIO SECURITY!

Since the onset of august we have been extreamely busy & now with the bank holiday approaching, calm steady breathing exercises are needed at regular intervals. As things are going, more like brown paper bag on head & a few deep breaths. Last weekend our baking lady married, monday she had broken a bone in her heel. Signed off for 3 weeks.

This coming weekend sees Leeds Fest, a weekend of mayhem, loud music & beer. Somehow, someway. the boy team' have manged to grab the whole weekend off, l don't how they manged it, l have a feeling they booked tickets first then informed me afterwards when my mind was not in full control of my faculties. So, dear customers, if you come for an ice cream over the bank holiday weekend, please be patient because we will be rather transparent due to being very thinly stretched. We have been roping in friends with the promises of free cappuccinos & cowpats especially as we are due to be attending Hull Global Food Fest & Sewerby Hall as well! Never a dull moment here as they say! Still smiling!

Monday, 13 August 2007

long summer days

When you're busy doesn't time fly? When you are busy and tired, boy, does it pass slowly. It is the busy, tired stage today. Our baking lady, who incidentally also helps me in the kitchen, has taken time out to marry her long standing fiance. Nothing wrong in nuptials but at this time of year it has put a strain on everyone, which has been exasperated by a dose of summer ailments that has been passing amongst out younger team members.

It's one of the joys of being self employed, long hours, few days off & all the hassle! Wouldn't change it for the world, but 4 weeks paid holiday does seem rather nice.

The world and his wife, plus children & grandparents are now out & about in force. This is great, because l would think, most UK tourism of whatever description has taken a broadside thanks to the blurdey awful early summer weather.

Travel has become a real headache, for example, unless you set off early for Brid now, by mid-morning 6 mile tailbacks greet the desperate car driver. Road rage & accidents are common place. What is the point of over taking queue of slow moving traffic when you really aren't going to get to your destination any faster?

Well, we are now half way through the month, so provided the weather holds, [please, please, please,] we should be getting busier with each passing day, building to a climax over the bank holiday weekend, then, ah such luxury, peace will return heralded in by September.

Gordon has asked that l show his swimming prowess whilst clutching a plastic bottle!

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